Quantum Air announced plans to launch what it’s calling a world’s first — an air taxi service using a fleet of 26 all-electric flying taxis to shuttle passengers between major points in the greater Los Angeles area. Quantum XYZ is claiming that these air taxi trips will replace hours-long car rides in LA’s notoriously bad traffic with “blissfully short” flights that last just a few minutes. And, maybe best of all, Quantum says its air taxi flights will be surprisingly affordable.
Unlike the drone-like, multi-rotor eVTOL concepts that seem to be coming out of the woodwork some days, Quantum’s air taxi service will utilize conventional, fixed-wing aircraft powered by lightweight, high-torque electric motors from Siemens. They’re built by Bye Aerospace, which has been developing the aircraft since 2014 in a bid to “breathe new life into the aviation industry” by lowering the costs usually associated with private, on demand air travel. George Bye, the CEO of the company, thinks his eFlyer aircraft can do it. “What we bring to aviation is … electric aircraft solutions to answer compelling market needs.” Bye says the eFlyer2 costs just $23 per hour of flight to operate compared, to $110 per hour for a conventionally-powered Cessna 172.
$23 an hour seems downright reasonable to me, especially considering what some attorneys and contractors charge on a per-hour basis to effectively do nothing while stuck in traffic on Los Angeles’ historically crowded highways, you know?
Quantum XYZ plans to officially begin operations sometime in 2021, under the name Quantum X. There’s no official word yet on what the average price of an air taxi flight would be, but the company’s CEO, Tony Thompson, wants it to be affordable. “Since the dawn of flight,” Thompson says in a statement, “point to point air travel has been a luxury available only to a privileged few. Quantum’s groundbreaking air taxi service will finally make point-to-point air travel widely available.”
What do you guys think? Would an electric air taxi service like this one work where you guys are? I could see this working in parts of Chicago or New York, but not really anywhere else. Maybe I lack imagination? Let us know what you think it would take to make this concept work — even if that’s an eVTOL infrastructure! — in the comments.